• Bert Quin

Reducing nutrient losses - EU vs NZ

Within the new EU Green Deal, its 'Farm-to-Fork' policy sets specific objectives for agriculture-food system sustainability. These include reducing nutrient losses by 50% and reducing fertiliser use by 20% by 2030. These objectives are interlinked; the development of more efficient fertilisers automatically reduces fertiliser requirements and reduces nutrient losses.

In NZ by comparison, no government department, regional council, agricultural organisation or the superphosphate industry even recognises that changing and improving the forms of nutrients we use plays an enormous role in reducing nutrient losses to the environment.

Eg, neither the WRC's or DairyNZ's advisories on reducing nutrient losses recommend the use - or even the existence - of non-water soluble P and improved-efficiency N fertilisers. Ballance, in their Statement of evidence to the Hearing Commissioners at WRC on 15 February 2019 (I.Tarbotton) supports an 80-year timeframe for Plan Change 1 for water quality improvements. It cites the Clearview Primary Growth Partnership ('PGP') with the MPI. It sites as 'Outcomes' for this $19.5m spend its N-Guru, Spreadsmart, and MitAgator. None of these involve the development of improved- efficiency fertilisers at all.